Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged local government units (LGUs) to pursue zero illiteracy among their constituents.
Gatchalian has been pushing for the National Literacy Council Act or Senate Bill No. 473 which seeks to assign Literacy School Boards (LSBs) as de facto local literacy councils.
The bill aims to strengthen the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC) which will continue to serve as the lead inter-agency coordinating and advisory body that would formulate and implement measures to accelerate literacy programs within local jurisdictions.
Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, said he is alarmed over reports of low literacy rates among learners in different parts of the country.
“Ang isang batang hindi marunong bumasa ay problema ng buong bansa (A child who does not know how to read is a problem for the whole country),” Gatchalian said in a statement.
“Sa pagsugpo natin ng illiteracy, mahalaga ang papel ng ating mga lokal na mga komunidad (In our fight against illiteracy, the role of our local communities is important),” the senator stressed.
In an education summit recently held in Baguio City, the lawmaker said it was revealed that only four out of 10 kids in Grades 4 to 7 aged 9 to 12 can properly read or write in English.
The result is based on pre-tests and post-tests done from 2021 to 2022; the same tests revealed that less than half of learners from Grades 3 to 7 in the city aged 8 to 9 could read or write in Filipino.
In the province of Cagayan alone, a survey recently posted on its official website showed that 12.72 percent or 29,529 out of 231,667 learners enrolled in public schools cannot read.
The 2017-2018 Early Language, Literacy, and Numeracy Assessment (ELLNA) also revealed that the literacy rate in the province is 49.52 percent.
“Kaya naman palalawigin natin ang papel ng ating mga LSBs sa pagpapatupad ng mga programa upang matiyak na bawat bata ay matutong bumasa at umintindi ng kanilang binabasa (That's why we will extend the role of our LSBs in the implementation of programs to ensure that every child learns to read and understand what they read),” said Gatchalian.